Audio Recording For Therapists

We have a client who has a lot of rooms where he wants audio recorded.

So far we tried:

  • Sony, with external Mics. WASTE.
  • Dahua, Decent quality but not good enough for big rooms with quite a lot of noises.
  • Axis, Decent as well, but with bigger rooms they face the same issue as well.

Does anyone have good experiences with certain camera's and mic's?

Note: They must be IP


Hello Marc:

Can you describe the issues you faced? Is it coverage? Noise fidelity?

In general, the best results come from using external mics, so I'm curious to understand what the issues you saw were.

The issue was noises and not being able to hear conversations clearly. Seems like the mics are just not good enough to capture the conversations. I need to find a mic which will make the sound more clear.

The mics integrated into cameras are typically good for picking up 'noise', but are not optimized for human voices, especially when mounted at the same height/location as cameras.

With that said, our Audio Surveillance Guide covers the difference. A relevant excerpt:

Built-In vs. External Testing

To demonstrate the difference between built in and add-on microphones, we tested three cameras' internal mics versus the Louroe audio surveillance kit (~$215 online). The Louroe microphone offered the best combination of sensitivity and noise rejection by far, with built in mics either too sensitive, nearing distortion when subjects were at close range and picking up low frequency rumble and ambient HVAC noise, or not sensitive enough, losing intelligibility at 5-10'.

External mics (or a system of mics) are the way to go. But you said that your first swing with Sony & external mics was a 'waste'.

We should discuss how to optimize that approach rather than write it off just yet. What made you consider that method a waste?

How big is the room?

How loud is the background noise?

Are the speakers itinerant or fixed?

This could be challenging to pick-up the patient's words at all times, considering that they are likely to have considerable variation in dynamics and tone.

I assume that that while the recording is for the good and possibly with the knowledge of the patient, that the device itself would still need to be covert, is that correct?

At least 2 microphones with AGC and a directional pickup pattern that is as tight as the room layout allows is to be expected.

Microphones, just like lenses, have angles of 'views', even if the boundaries are not as clearly defined. For example, using a sensitive omni-directional microphone in this case would probably be a disaster. A cardioid or a shotgun pattern, if feasible would be better.

I'm assuming you already tried the ASK-4 #300 connected directly to a good camera running at 30 FPS?

We would all assume that the patients are aware of the recordings. In a lot of states, it is the law. If the therapist is recording as opposed to taking notes, frankly, I would use two different solutions. A video solution, which are plentiful, and an audio solution (Louroe for example, and there are a few good ones). If the therapist is looking to record the session for his/her legal or physical protection, I would still use that solution, but signage and informing the patients are an absolute must.

I agree, I have used the Louroe mics before, they are great. I have used them in interview rooms for police departments, i have used them at a CPS visitation room which was ~25X40 mounted in the middle of the room. Those are your best bet. Tie them into the camera directly which helps the audio and video line up right.

I have had good luck with:

http://www.etsnm.com/

I have rooms with 6 microphones, 4 microphones, 2 microphones where each room has a mixer in it. This is for recording classroom settings where questions in the class are just as important as the instructor. I haven't used their IP interface but I'm sure it works just as well. The president is very helpful and I have liked using their products versus ones from:

http://www.louroe.com/

I like the low profile of the ETS mics and the fact they seem to offer DSP products to remove background noise which I have used in the classrooms above with good results.